4 Recent Movies That Have Already Aged Terribly
While some movies age like a fine wine, others age like a carton of milk that’s been locked in the trunk of a parked Honda Civic for the month of August. It’s no secret that many films of yesteryear don’t totally hold up (like, 90% of ‘80s comedies depict literal sex crimes) but occasionally even newer movies become disconcertingly dated almost immediately, such as how …
Hillbilly Elegy Helped Embolden A Creep Now Running For Office
Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy is the Citizen Kane of movies starring glamorous megastars cosplaying as impoverished Appalachian foiks. The film, based on the bestselling memoir by J.D. Vance, tells the story of “J.D.” who leaves his family behind to attend Yale; co-starring Amy Adams as his heroin-addicted mother, and Glenn Close as alt-right Mrs. Doubtfire.
When it was first released in 2020, the film generated a degree of controversy, and was blasted by critics as a “dismal mess of stereotypes.” Somehow, in just two years, Hillbilly Elegy – which was about as warmly received as an open cold sore at a kissing booth – looks even worse today. How is that possible? Because Vance, the author and central character of this story, is currently running for the U.S. senate and has some policy ideas that will make you wonder if he’s a sentient V-chip come to life.
Despite calling Trump “reprehensible” in a past (now-deleted) Tweet, Vance since accepted his endorsement, which helped secure a win in Ohio’s Republican primary. And Vance has espoused a laundry list of garbage ideas; when asked if his opposition to abortion would extend to cases of rape and incest, he responded: “Two wrong don’t make a right.” And, while he is against banning any form of firearm, he has expressed an interest in banning porn – which seems a tad hypocritical seeing as so many pornos have more cinematic merit than Hillbilly Elegy.
Bad Boys For Life’s Rogue Cop Story Didn’t Look So Good in 2020
Amazingly, the highest-grossing movie of 2020 wasn’t a Marvel release, or a Star War, it was the belated third movie in a franchise that began way back in 1995: Bad Boys For Life. Of course, that mostly had to do with the fact that the film came out in January 2020, and movie theaters all abruptly shut down not long afterwards. And even when some cinemas opened back up, not everyone was up for risking their lives to see, say, Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe as a character with anger issues that is somehow not named “Russell Crowe.”
Bad Boys For Life, not unlike the previous movies, is about cops who don’t always play by the rules, but get the job done, dammit. This time Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s characters battle a vengeful cartel, often in slow motion, naturally.
But just months after the release of Bad Boys For Life, the idea of cops not playing by the rules or following procedures seemed … less ideal. Obviously police brutality was nothing new, but the impassioned cross-country protests following the murder of George Floyd were inarguably unprecedented.
Not to mention that Bad Boys shares its name with the Inner Circle track best known as the theme song for Cops, the long-running propaganda show that “distorted” America’s perception of law enforcement – and not coincidentally, was cancelled in 2020 – and later brought back, because … everything’s magically okay now?
Songbird – Michael Bay’s COVID Dystopia Seems Especially Laughable Now
We’ve talked before about Songbird, the Michael Bay-produced thriller about a chilling future in which Archie from Riverdale and the rest of America are forced to live in a totalitarian regime where they could be rounded up by the army and put in “Q-Zone” concentration camps if sick with … COVID-23.
The movie raised eyebrows when it was first announced, for its grossly insensitive timing, and concerns that one of the first cinematic stories about the life-altering pandemic that everyone was still living through perhaps shouldn’t be handled by the same guy who gave us this scene:
Today, Songbird seems even more laughable, serving as a time capsule of the paranoid fear-mongering that lockdowns and mask mandates would somehow lead to martial law. It’s less than two years after the movie came out, and two years until it’s set, and people are free to roam maskless through a Walmart, or hack flem on each other while in line at Disney World.
Jon Stewart’s Irresistible – A Political Comedy About How Both Sides Are Equally Bad (And Racism Somehow Doesn’t Exist)
Between his time as host of The Daily Show, and his current job (defending creeps in interviews) Jon Stewart directed a political comedy called Irresistible. The film stars Steve Carrell as a big city Democratic campaign consultant who gets involved with a small town Mayoral race in Wisconsin, as does his Republican rival. Hilarity does not ensue.
Much of the movie is a lame fish-out-of-water story in which Carrell’s urban elite is so out of touch that he doesn’t understand that cows make noise or that twist off bottle caps are a thing, but even worse is the movie’s twist ending; we eventually find out that one local’s impassioned defense of unfairly targeted immigrants (which first caught Carrell’s attention) was contrived purely in order to inspire the Democrats and Republicans to go wild with electoral theatrics. It was an elaborate con, and ultimately they funnel the campaign spending into the community.
But what was clearly intended as a commentary on the absurdity of over-the-top campaign spending doesn’t really hold-up to any real scrutiny. For one thing, despite the fact that this whole misadventure began with the purported unjust treatment of undocumented immigrants, those unnamed characters are quickly shuffled to the periphery so the story can focus on a cast of mostly white people. And despite the fact that this movie is about American politics in 2020, beyond a quick cameo from Black Lives Matter t-shirt, racism is somehow not a concern in this reality.
Ultimately, the movie makes the case that both sides of the political divide are equally flawed – a sentiment that seemed especially tone-deaf in January the following year, and today, when reproductive rights are being stripped from millions of people by a broken judicial system. Which isn’t to say that movies shouldn’t poke fun at, or take satirical aim at the Democrats – of course they should. But to make any satire about modern politics that flat-out ignores such fundamental concerns, while ending with a “the system sucks, what are you gonna do?” shrug, is just plain insulting. It’s the worst movie Jon Stewart has ever been involved with, and he was in Death to Smoochy for crying out loud.
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Thumbnail: Columbia Pictures